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Statement by Mr. Zhang Lei of the Delegation of China on women's issue (item 112 and 113) at the Third Committee of the 56th session of the General Assembly

2001/10/17
Mr. President,

The Delegation of China has carefully studied the documents under the agenda item on women at this current session. It is gratifying to note that since the Special Session on women held last year, the United Nations, governments and a large number of NGOs have done tremendous work in implementing the various initiatives of the Special Session and have obtained many positive results. It has become a common understanding shared far and wide to enhance women's status, safeguard their rights and interests and to ensure gender equality.

Mr. President,

At present, while presented with unprecedented opportunities, women's cause is confronted with numerous challenges and difficulties. As a result of protracted fighting and conflict in certain regions and countries of the world and the increasing marginalization due to the imbalanced world economic development, women in many parts of the world, especially those in the developing world have seen their rights seriously compromised in terms of political participation, employment, education and health. In order to truly achieve the goal of gender equality, the UN and the countries of the world should take concrete actions in furtherance of their efforts to genuinely safeguard the rights and interests of women. To this end, the Chinese delegation would like to make the following observations:

Firstly, women are most often than not victims mostly affected by war, armed conflict and terrorist activities. Countries of the world should strictly abide by the UN Charter and the basic norms of international law and resolve their disputes by peaceful means. Terrorism seriously threatens international peace and security. In the fight against terrorism, countries should carry out effective international cooperation, allowing the UN and the Security Council to play their maximum role. At the same time, in military actions against terrorism, care should be taken to avoid hurting innocent civilians, especially women and children. In our view, the women's cause will get a chance to fully develop only when wars, armed conflicts and terrorism are completely eliminated.

Secondly, it is a common task of us all to enhance women's status and safeguard their rights and interests. However, one should not lose sight of the fact that conditions of the women in the world are starkly different in terms of economic development, geography, culture and historical background. It is therefore important that countries should be able to formulate development strategies and policies and choose appropriate path for the development of their women based on their domestic conditions and in accordance with relevant international human rights instruments. On this matter, all countries should, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, increase exchanges and learn from each other in an effort to advance the cause of women.

Thirdly, with the world economy dominated by an ever increasing globalization, it is important to recognize the utmost importance of poverty eradication with regard to the enhancement of women's status and the safeguard of women's right to existence and development. It is up to the international community to take effective measures to help women in poverty to move out of their predicament, thereby providing a reliable material basis for women's development and progress. In this regard, we call upon the developed countries and relevant international agencies to fully honor their commitments.

Fourthly, as a UN body in charge of supervising the implementation of Beijing Program of Action and the Outcome Document of the Special Session of the General Assembly on Women, the Commission on the Status of Women has seen its role steadily strengthened. We are in favor of improving the working method of the CSW aimed at economizing resources and enhancing its efficiency. However, since the adjustment of its working method is an issue involving many other questions, it is important to carefully study all the proposals and measures put forward and to engage in full consultation in this regard. China stands ready to work together with other members in an effort to enable CSW to better discharge its functions.

Mr. President,

As the host to the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Chinese government has made great efforts in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action. On May 22nd this year, the Chinese government officially enacted the Programme of Development of the Chinese Women from 2001 to 2010. The Programme which is based on the safeguard of the rights and interests of Chinese women and has as its objective the promotion of women's participation and development, has set forth development plans and measures for the next decade in areas such as the drafting and improvement of laws and regulations, enhancing women's ability in political participation, helping women to achieve full employment and to eliminate poverty as well as improving their health.  We are confident that so long as China continues to maintain its social stability and economic development, women's cause in China will surely make even greater achievements in the years ahead.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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